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July 07, 2011


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I know a successful businessman who's friendly, decent, responsible, and oddly possessed. He hopes the Republicans shut down the government and midwife the Randian apotheosis. He's a winner and he's tired of losers whining instead of working hard. He wants America back to its virtuous high point (say, 1890) when nobody expected anything but what they could wrest from the sweat of their brow and the skin on their hands.

It's probably a given that just about all of us think we're not the problem. We identify and stereotype those that are and these scapegoats usually make us feel better for being so unlike ourselves. For myself, these people tend to be the "hard cases" who generally locate solutions to social problems in their cruel imagination. Say, forcing an unwed mother to pick cotton, or meting out the death penalty for drunk driving, or letting the luckless die for want of health care.

These people have always been around. My own father was like this, particularly in his later years. And they have finally found the sweet spot in American politics where "getting tough" is now the accepted answer to everything. Of course, it's not the answer to your thing because you're good. It's the "others" who are always the problem.

And they are, often as not, correct. I see people who think thuggishness is cool. I see them on light rail braying in full voice about "whupping that mofo's sorry ass". I see others who have such minimal self-control that they're clinically obese. Then there are those who think the answer to low self-esteem is another tattoo or piercing. Please grow up, I pray silently.

The craziness in this country is teased and tweaked for audience share. Talk-radio blowhards are expert Pavlovians, coaxing their frazzled listeners to ever-greater rages for the sake of tribal solidarity. And one political party is so inebriated in the certitude of righteous anger that it's willing to blow the nation up if it doesn't get its way. This is life imitating a Clint Eastwood movie not for any better reason than it feels like a therapeutic catharsis.

I listen to my neighbors talking about the debt-ceiling crisis and I get that the right's talking points have once again carried the day. "Why can't the government live within its means like we do?" I nod and realize that there's no inoculation against the grand simplifications of political hucksters. They're unassailable for being so dumbed down. And it's frightening to think these politicians believe their own bullshit. I'm not even sure there's a difference any longer between our nightmares and the harsh light of day. We are crossing over.

Since a lost decade is now baked in, people should have a fun time "living within their means". If the pain is not enough for a wakeup call why stop here? I still think Obama should have let the tax cuts expire, double dip be damned. If the US is in for a long valley of tears, spread the pain and do it right.

Fun fact for Jon: Rep Mica, chairman of the transportation committee, proposes a 33% cut to the Federal transportation budget. The 80-20 allocation to Highways vs. transit will remain. A bad deal for transit, but at least there will be some consolidation and best of all: less money for those damned highway expansions. Let's stir it up for the road rage. As the late Matt Simmons said, not every apex is a real peak. There is no limit to human misery and craziness. Government has to live within its means so don't complain about stewing in traffic jams and talk radio.

DeChistopher and Manning shame us. We'll bring picnic lunches to their lynchings.

Personally, I'm struggling with how "crazy" interlaces with "dense" because We The People seem to have become more loopy and dysfunctional in our journey back to 3rd grade mental competency. If "crazy" means having systematic delusions, then we're definitely riding that train!

The world is experiencing a huge lobotomy and "Krachat" is in charge.
So this Indian is jumping off this train with the "Chief."

I'm blown away that the bridge is being built in China. So depressing.

Seriously, as the US exports less and less and empty shipping containers are repositioned on ships bound for Asia to be reloaded we become poorer as a nation.

I loaded thousands of empties as a stowage coordinator onto containerships in the Port of LA in 1986 and its been accelerating ever since. There is no balance in trade at all. This is terrifying to me.

Leftcoastdude "Terrifying." U aint seen nada yet. I heard Prince is looking for U to join his merry band of christian crusaders.

In an article familiarizing foreign travelers to the US, a writer for the Australian based travel publishing house Lonely Planet asserted that racism was the underlying factor in the Social Security debate in the US. More specifically, the author claimed that the younger and less white segment of the US population was unhappy about generous social security payments to the older, largely white segment.

Race is the major fault line in the US. Older, white voters have been less supportive of Obama, so it is not surprising that he would be willing to cut back on social security in return for some agreed upon revenue enhancers from Republicans. The Republicans must be thrilled with Obama's running cover for their dismantling of Social Security.

Obama and the Clinton's are not liberal democrats. They are about where Reagan was. And interior secretary Salazar is making James Watt look like a liberal. I know this because I am a 71 year old Republican. However most Republicans today are whacko religious nut jobs dancing to the corporate tune. It's just a matter of time before Monsanto decides to make anyone eligible for Social Security, tomorrow’s meal of Soylent Green.

Wonder if there's a positive correlation between rampant epidemic obesity and declining mental acuity?

nothing positive about either.
except they might climb in the cannibal's pot easier.

Its beginning to feel like the decline of the Roman Empire. We're stuck with the sorry political hacks the oligarchs prop up. I really thought it would be impossible for any president to be worse than Bush 43, but it looks like its gonna happen right out of the gate.

I see Bachmann is now being groomed as an intellectual!

It seems a correlation can be made easily between poverty and obesity. Poverty correlates with most things afflicting our population; lower educational attainment, obesity, violence, etc. It is an interesting phenomena that in the U.S. those with the least discretionary income contribute the most to high rates of obesity in our nation...how many billions of Big Mac's have been sold? Now McDonald's is available in Walmart.

My mother is in her 70's and a life long Democrat. She claims Republicans are not much different today than they were in the past. I disagree. Many of them display mean spirited behavior I do not recall years ago.

I might agree with your mother jmav. It seems the compromise and desire to govern fairly from the 1950s to 1970s was an aberation in the Republican Party.

Here's a chart I found at Kevin Drum's site. It illustrates the seeming dichotomy between Rs & Ds.


The problem with belief is less the fact that we all believe things. We do! The problem is the absolutism of those beliefs. If your beliefs don't account for different contexts, you can easily slip into inflexible adherence to "principles".

Meanness is really just the inability to admit the possibility of honest difference.

PSF: you correctly cite the correlation between poverty and obesity . . and I am curious about whether it also ties into our retreat to a 3rd grader's mental acuity. At the risk of being intolerant and/or unkind, there seems to be a pattern here. How 'bout the blowzy blond with the pneumatic chest who married the old dude and became a national side-show? Seems that we've become adept at majoring in minor matters and ignoring the locomotive's headlight moving closer with each tick of the clock!


I seriously doubt I coined "peak crazy". I do remember typing it and saying, Ah-ha! But one thing I don't doubt: You filled the term with piping hot oxygenated blood.

If one does a google search and gets rid of all the references to Crazy Peak in Montana, then we can see you pretty much own the phrase now. And that's is as it should be. That was a grand-nifty post. The phrase couldn't possibly have had a more rowdy or rogue-ier birth...

One more thing....

I don't totally agree with your assessment of NASA: "Now, nothing." A stunning animated video of the Mars Science Laboratory going up late Nov. early Dec, shows we can still attempt great things. The landing will blow your mind. Holy Sweet Christ, but that is complicated!

But I do agree in general....

If I was president I'd have a one-way manned mission to Mars with older American adults on its way before 2020. It's that vision thing. It matters. The spirt of a people shall not be constrained by gravity. How many Americans 60 and over do you think would volunteer to be the first colonizers of Mars? To live there, get resupplied, and die there? To grab the beachhead for the next Americans? Thousands if not millions. But we no longer have leaders capable of raising the bar equal to our expectations....

Mars video:


Google search parameters:

"peak crazy" -"crazy peak"

American Crazy-The belief that we can soil our nest without consequences; we can damage or destroy our fellow citizens without consequences; we can be as dumb as we want to be without consequences; our neighbors will watch us become unreasonably wealthy without consequences; workers can be disregarded as customers and consumers without consequences; you can allow corporations who have only one purpose,to have all the same rights as citizens and not have consequences; and finally, please feel free to add to this list.

And we can nuke 'em for Jesus - without consequences! We're more and more isolated as a nation - while our citizens fight over table scraps!

The Nation just lost a good lady that happened to be the first lady of a guy that was a reasonable repubican and a nice guy.

True Cal!

One US engineering company lost the contract for certifying the bridge steel because [the company] would not sign off on what it felt was substandard product.

Canada crazy (a journalist explains why he quit CTV):

AWinter, I get an earful of Canadian politics from my sister who lives in Vancouver. There's a welcome contrast to the US - Gay marriage! Universal health care! Not as many fundamentalists! On the other hand, there's that part of human nature that is apparently dominant even when there's no Rush Limbaugh whispering seductive poison into Canadian ears. You can see in the clear cutting of British Columbia forests, the tar sands devastation of Alberta, and the exhausted fisheries of the Grank Banks. Canada is hungry and greed is ubiquitous.

It's a disturbing thought: if Blue America were its own country, it would be a lot like Canada. And we would manifest our own Stephen Harper because as virtuous as we think we are, we're still grasping, grubby creatures.

Let me recommend the works of Maude Barlow if you're not familiar with her. Too Close for Comfort is an eye-opener for explicating the economic and political relationship between Canada and the US.

A side-bar:


The book "Peak of Everything" is instructive.

Yet I would counsel us that "The Peak of Sanity" is not axiomatically linked to the Peak of Crazy, nor are either of those linked to the Peak of Intelligence.


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